The Ministry of Health stated in the justification for the changes that increased mobility of the population and increased travel are expected in connection with the upcoming holidays, including from countries where the omicron form of Covid-19 is already particularly widespread. Therefore, regardless of whether an individual holds an up-to-date Covid-19 certificate, all arrivals from certain countries will also need to take a Covid-19 test.
For people arriving via international carriers such as airlines, the Covid-19 test must be performed and presented prior to arrival in Latvia:
RNA test within 72 hours prior to arrival
antigen test within 48 hours prior to arrival
The test must be negative and the passenger must present confirmation of the result to the carrier to be able to board.
If a person with a vaccination or disease recovery certificate enters by another means, for example by private vehicle, and a Covid-19 test has not been performed before entering Latvia, the Covid-19 test must be performed at a Latvian laboratory within 24 hours.
The rules apply to Latvian citizens who have been travelling abroad and foreign nationals alike.
The requirement to perform the test does not apply to children under the age of 12, persons in transit through the Republic of Latvia, employees of the transport and passenger transport service providers and members of the crew of passengers, cargo or technical flights.
The new rules will be valid from Friday, December 24 until January 11 and will apply to arrivals from the United Kingdom, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Belgium, Ireland, Germany and Russia.
The decision was made by a majority vote of the government, but not a unanimous one with four ministers representing the New Conservative Party, including Minister of Transport Tālis Linkaits, pointing out that while passengers arriving at Rīga International Airport will be closely controlled, people arriving via the land border may not.
For more details see the official Covid-19 information website.
In addition, the government's existing travel restrictions on arrivals from eight African countries remain in place.